Dan Feldman

Teams not easily reaching Phil Jackson for trade calls, settling for Steve Mills


Carmelo Anthony had a tough time setting up a meeting with Phil Jackson.

It seems Anthony isn’t the only person who struggles to communicate with the Knicks president.

Bobby Marks on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix:

I’ve talked to a lot of teams, and it’s not just the media that he’s not out in the public with. He’s not an easy man to get in touch with. If you’re going to try to make a trade proposal with the Knicks, you’re not going to Phil Jackson. You’re going to Steve Mills. And that’s how it’s been for teams in the trade process.

Mills, the Knicks’ general manager, has held this responsibility for a while. Even with Jackson seemingly taking a more active role earlier in the season, that apparently hasn’t changed – though I wonder whether it’s still true for bigger issues like shopping for an Anthony trade.

This will only reinforce the perception that Jackson – who held no front-office experience before New York gave him $12 million per year – is more interested in cashing checks than actually doing the job. He leaves games early. He took a vacation in the middle of a coaching search. And he doesn’t even take trade calls himself?

Not all team presidents handle those day-to-day operations. For example, Pistons president Stan Van Gundy has general manager Jeff Bower handle most trade discussions until they become serious enough to bring in Van Gundy. But Van Gundy also coaches Detroit. Jackson’s only role is as an executive. Kings general manager Vlade Divac has also been notoriously difficult to reach, but that’s not good company, anyway.

Jackson hasn’t built a good team. He’s not playing a leading role trying to improve the franchise’s standing through trade. He’s not even putting a reassuring face on the franchise, refusing to speak publicly during numerous fiascos this season.

Why are the Knicks paying him so much?

Report: Celtics told Knicks they weren’t interested in Carmelo Anthony trade


The Clippers engaged the Knicks about a Carmelo Anthony trade that doesn’t include Chris Paul, Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan – and New York appears open to it.


Probably because the other teams the Knicks approached about an Anthony trade, the Cavaliers and Celtics, rejected the overtures.


Sources told ESPN that the Boston Celtics let the Knicks know they have no interest in Anthony.

This isn’t quite the Celtics not being interested in Anthony. It might be that, but this is just the Celtics telling the Knicks they’re not interested in Anthony. It could be a negotiating ploy.

The Celtics could use another scorer, but they also don’t need another subpar defender and should be wary of someone who has too often halted offensive flow. Boston wants to preserve salary-cap flexibility until making a big splash. At age 32, Anthony might not be worth the cost.

It’s also possible the Celtics aren’t interested because of the perceived asking price. Perhaps, they’d be more receptive to Anthony trade talks if they learned New York was seeking less than expected.

Anthony possesses a no-trade clause, so there’s a closed market for his services. The Knicks probably won’t get a massive return for him. Whether or not the Celtics are intentionally trying to lower New York’s asking price, I wouldn’t be surprised if Boston takes another look at an Anthony trade if New York is committed to moving him for whatever it can get, no matter how little.

Report: Clippers offered second-rounder for P.J. Tucker, but Suns waiting for first-rounder

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 24:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers reacts after a foul from P.J. Tucker #17 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 24, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Clippers 93-88.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Clippers might be looking at a bigger name in Carmelo Anthony, but they’re also eying a more modest forward addition: P.J. Tucker

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Clippers have offered a future second-round pick for Suns forward P.J. Tucker — who is said to have a not-so-secret admirer in Doc Rivers — but sources say Phoenix is holding out for a first-rounder in exchange for the rugged defensive specialist.

Tucker would be the latest attempt by the Clippers to find a small forward to fit between Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The 31-year-old Tucker would be a fine addition. He can defend multiple positions, and he makes enough 3-pointers to qualify as a 3-and-D player.

Over the luxury-tax line and hard-capped, the Clippers have a narrow path to matching Tucker’s $5.3 million salary. They could deal Paul Pierce and Alan Anderson for Tucker, though I’m not sure Doc Rivers would trade Pierce in the forward’s final season. Another option is dealing Wesley Johnson, who’s having a down year in the first season of a three-year, $17,643,780 contract.

Tucker no longer fits in Phoenix, which is headed back to the lottery. He can help teams ready to win now. The Suns ought to get something for him before his contract expires this summer.

Can they get a first-round pick for him? Plenty of teams need wings, and Tucker’s defensive versatility is an asset. But he’s only a tolerable 3-point shooter, which could become a problem in a playoff series.

The Suns are right to seek a first-rounder now, but by the trade deadline, they might have to settle for a second-rounder.

Kings literally take Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue’s legs out from under him (video)

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When you’re coaching the defending champions who are heavily favored to return to the the Finals – and suddenly LeBron James is making noise about the roster, putting you in a bind, and your team is about to lose its sixt of its last eight games.

Dion Waiters forgets favorite quote when discussing late-game poise

Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters (11) is congratulated by forward Willie Reed (35) and guard Goran Dragic (7) after hitting a 3-point shot against the Brooklyn Nets with seconds left in an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, in New York. The Heat won 109-106. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Dion Waiters is having his moment, hitting the game-winning 3-pointer against the Warriors and a dagger 3 against the Nets this week.

Via Ira Winderman of the South Florida SunSentinel:

  • Winderman: “You always hear about guys in the zone. What’s it like to be in that zone and have that moment two games in a row?”
  • Waiters: “Oh man, I love that moment. I mean, you can never shy away from that. I just feel tough like – one of my favorite quotes is, uh, I forgot it already. One of my favorite quotes. But, yeah, man, just can’t be afraid of taking them shots. You know, you’re still at one point at the end of the day. I just wanted to just get it over with. And fortunately, I made the shot.”

After his two huge shots against Golden State and Brooklyn, Waiters is now 5-for-29 on 3-pointers in his career when the game is within five points in the final three minutes.